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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 451-457

Social isolation, social support, and psychological distress among the elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study from central India


1 Assistant Professor, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
2 Assistant Professor, Mahatma Gandhi Fuji Guruji Social Work Studies Centre, Wardha, Maharashtra, India
3 Professor, Department of Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Pradeep Deshmukh
Department of Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur - 441 108, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijph.ijph_482_22

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Background: In the present COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing measures have been advised to protect elderly from infection which might have led to poor mental health state. Objective: A cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the magnitude of social isolation, social support, and psychological distress among the elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic in Central India. Methods: The estimated sample size was 1535. The sample was equally distributed among rural, semiurban, and urban strata of districts. Social isolation was measured using Lubben's Social Network Scale-Revised, and psychological distress was assessed using Kessler K10 Psychological Distress Scale. Other parameters such as a history of COVID-19 illness and COVID-19 vaccination were assessed. Results: The prevalence of social isolation was higher at 23.6% during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to before the pandemic period (15.0%). The majority perceived a high level of social support during the pandemic (55.3%) and 39.9% received moderate support. Overall, 18.4% of the respondents had psychological distress. Out of them, 56.2% had mild distress, 20.1% had moderate distress, and 23.7% had severe distress. Significant predictors of psychological distress were female gender, lower socioeconomic status, history of COVID-19 disease among the participants, social isolation, and lack of social support. Conclusion: Social isolation and lack of social support were significant predictors of psychological distress among the elderly during the pandemic.


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